Use of Arabidopsis thaliana and Pseudomonas syringae in the Study of Plant Disease Resistance and Tolerance


  • Andrew F. Bent
  • Barbara N. Kunkel
  • Roger W. Innes
  • Brian J. Staskawicz


The interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana and the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae is being developed as a model experimental system for plant pathology research. Race-specific ("gene-for-gene") resistance has been demonstrated for this interaction, and pathogen genes that determine avirulence have been isolated and characterized. Because certain lines of both Arabidopsis and soybean are resistant to bacteria carrying the avirulence genes avrRpt2 and avrB, extremely similar pathogen recognition mechanisms are apparently present in these two plant species. Isogenic bacterial strains that differ by the presence of single avirulence genes are being used to analyze plant resistance. Plant resistance genes have been identified in crosses between resistant and susceptible lines. The extensive map-based cloning tools available in Arabidopsis are being used to isolate these resistance genes. In a related project, ethylene-insensitive Arabidopsis mutants are being used to examine the role of ethylene in disease development. Ethylene apparently mediates symptom formation in susceptible plants and is not required for resistance, suggesting possible strategies for enhancement of disease tolerance in crops. Key words: Arabidopsis thaliana, avirulence, bacterium, ethylene, Glycine max, Pseudomonas syringae, resistance, tolerance.